KWEKWE residents have locked horns with city fathers after the latter approved a massive 68% hike in water tariffs and provision of state-of-the-art all-terrain vehicles for top council management without engaging key stakeholders.
If the rates get approved by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, residents in the high-density suburbs would be forced to pay 42 cents per cubic meter up from the current 25c per cubic meter while their counterparts in the low-density suburbs will have to fork out 80 cents instead of the current 51 cents per cubic meter.
Commerce and industry will now buy water for 96 cents per cubic meter up from 60 cents in a move which is likely to hit Redcliff City Council harshly.
Redcliff buys its water from Kwekwe at commercial rates before selling it to its own consumers at a higher tarriff to recover operating costs.
Kwekwe Residents and Ratepayers’ Association has already petitioned council to reverse the proposed hikes saying they were unjustified and meant to raise funds to pamper top management with hefty salaries and luxury vehicles.
Part of the document reads: “Many luxurious items have been budgeted for and these include the town clerk’s (Toyota) Prado or equivalent which is budgeted for at $120 000 (City of Kwekwe draft budget 2015 page 65). He does not require a Prado since his work is always within the jurisdiction of the city so which rugged terrain does he want to travel.
“The 2015 draft budget also highlights 4×4 double cabs for heads of departments. This is totally unjustified and these senior managers should emulate the conduct of the mayor (Matenda Madzoke) who refused to accept a luxurious vehicle out of public interest.”
During the budget consultative stages, Madzoke said the increase in water tariffs was caused by a sharp rise in costs of acquiring water treatment chemicals.
“Since the city no longer has the support of the donor community in the purchase of water treatment chemicals, the cost of delivering clean water to the people has gone up and this is the gap we intend to close, the increase is just break even,” he said then.
The council which has maintained all its other tarrifs unchanged is looking to raise revenue of $21 million next year, but faces a hurdle as most residents and companies have outstanding bills.